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In re Slingerland

April 08, 2004

IN RE MARRIAGE OF BARBARA SLINGERLAND, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND JOHNATHAN SLINGERLAND, RESPONDENT (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE).


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Ogle County. No. 99-D-187 Honorable John F. Joyce, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

PUBLISHED

Petitioner, Barbara Slingerland, appeals the trial court's order finding her in direct criminal contempt of court. She argues that her behavior constituted, at most, indirect criminal contempt. We disagree and affirm.

The marriage of petitioner and respondent, Johnathan Slingerland, was dissolved in January 2001. In July 2002, respondent requested that petitioner be held in indirect civil contempt for violating various provisions of the dissolution judgment. Petitioner filed a response to the pleading as well as additional petitions. In December 2002, respondent moved to terminate maintenance. A hearing on these issues began on December 18, 2002, and continued on February 26, 2003. Both petitioner and respondent are attorneys and appeared pro se. At the latter hearing, while respondent was testifying in rebuttal about days that petitioner allegedly denied him visitation with their children, the following exchange took place:

"MRS. SLINGERLAND: Objection, there's no petition on file with regard to this. Now we're talking about days that we don't even have petitions on file for.

THE COURT: Ms. Slingerland, it took awhile to get to court. I'm not going to go into whose fault it was or wasn't that we got to court. Since this is subsequent to his filing of the petition, I am going to let him introduce anything until today's date. So, if this has been an ongoing activity, you may testify, Mr. Slingerland.

MRS. SLINGERLAND: That's it.

THE COURT: Mrs. Slingerland, sit down.

MRS. SLINGERLAND: No, I'm not going to. This is totally unfair.

THE COURT: Mrs. Slingerland- MRS. SLINGERLAND: No, it's not fair.

THE COURT: Bailiff, would you keep Mrs. Slingerland? Mrs. Slingerland, ma'am, we're going to continue with this hearing.

MRS. SLINGERLAND: I'm not even prepared for any of this.

THE COURT: Mrs. Slingerland, have a seat there. Mrs. Slingerland, come forward. You want to go sit in ...


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